The Insane Waiter

Running wild on customers, chefs, owners and managers since 1997. I bring to you, The Insane Waiter. What do bring to your table? A crisp bottle of San Pellegrino ? Perhaps a lovely seared Sashimi Tuna? Start off with a wonderful bottle from Tuscany perhaps? Why I'll be more than happy to bring you your White Zinfandel and Chicken Caesar. No you can't order the mac and cheese off the kids menu and sorry no, we don't serve cheese sticks....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

St. Valentine's Day Massacre...

"Sir, what can you tell me about your desserts?" The lady asks with the menu set directly in front of her.

Her date rolls his eyes.

This isn't going well for me either, but at least I don't have to drive her home.

"Well miss what would you like to know?"

"What is this chocolate tort all about?"

"Well miss it's a flourless chocolate tort, very rich, you'd love it." I say, pretty straightforward dessert.

"I don't understand, is it like a cake?" She continues.

"Miss, it's very rich, similar to a fudge cake."

She looks at me befuddled,"well is it a cake or isn't it?"

"Ma'am a torte is a type of cake, this one is made with no flour."

"I don't get it, is it like a pie, is that what a torte is?" She asks.

"Miss, that is a tart, this is like a fudge cake."

"Well what do you mean like a fudge cake, what's a fudge cake?"

My pager is buzzing furiously, I have about three tables of food to run, this is starting to get on my nerves.

Every table has been like this, I've always said I don't mind questions, but I prefer informed questions, like when people read the menu, which she clearly hasn't.

"Miss, its a rich chocolate cake, made with no flour."

"Well how can it be a cake if it hasn't any flour?" She manages to throw out all that I've tried to explain with this one for sure.

I just shrug.

"Well I don't like chocolate anyways, it makes me ill." She declares.

Then why the hell are you torturing me like this?!?

Is it your first time out?

It probably is, he date just holds his head in his hands.

Why would you want to know about something you don't even want?

"Miss is there anything else you might like?" I ask.

Her response is, "Are all Italian desserts so rich? I can't eat rich foods."

My short answer, "Yes they are."

If you want two sprigs of mint and a blueberry, well maybe down the street would be better off.

"Well what's this gelato all about, I saw something about it on the Olympics." Is her next query.

Before I can answer her date responds, "It's like ice cream."

Predictably she goes on, "Well what do you mean by like?"

Her date cuts her off, "Check Please."

I fled the scene much like Capone's men after the massacre of the North Siders.

This is one night that can't get any worse.

The managers didn't have the floor plan done until the first customers arrived, despite us having all reservations held in the book a week prior.

Of course they yelled at us all to hurry up and set up our section, once again despite the fact we didn't know where they were.

Once we got going it was clear that we underbooked as the restaurant was only full for about a half an hour period.

Incidentally this was a good thing because the kitchen fell apart about 7:30 or so because they couldn't handle the weak rush that was coming in.

I had over thirty minute ticket times for my two top diners, when the restaurant was half full.

Our expo was zoned out on Vikes and instead of getting another manager up there he just fucked around and yelled at us for not paying attention to our table's drink levels, all the while running obscene ticket times and not even bothering to communicate out concerns or trying to get the dinners out.

It's always nice getting cussed out for doing your job when they can't even handle theirs.

Talk about misplaced priorities, he can worry about the food, let me worry about my tables.

It was hell, diners that would be better off at IHOP or at the very most Applebee's were the rule, not the exception.

Rarely did one order any of the Valentine's Day features, but instead asked for salads, chicken fettuchini or the one sandwich we have on the menu, whatever was cheapest.

I had one good table for the night, thirty dollar two top that was a pleasure to wait on.

Beyond that 10% was the average, with my favorite tip being a couple of Euro-trash that left me $.85 on their $39.15 ticket.

White zinfandel and Coor's was the drink of choice.

I wish I had a great night, I wish I could come here and speak of all the fun I had and great guests and the good times had by all.

I can't.

I think its time for a bartending gig, this server shit isn't cutting it much longer, I can tell you that.

13 Comments:

At 5:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not print up some business cards for the Euro's that say: "When in America, you're expected to tip approximately 18% of the check before tax"?

 
At 10:57 PM , Blogger Patricia said...

Yes, that would be nicer than calling us "trash". We can't be blamed for not knowing something that we have never been told.
20% tips in europe would be something ridiculous. It is normal to leave some change for the waiter, so when an european does this to you, he's actually being nice. So if you bother to inform the european customers about your lack of a decent salary and the normal % of tips, they'll probably understand and act as you expect.
Assuming that europeans don't tip usually means bad service form the start. In which case you wouldn't deserve a tip anyway.

 
At 3:41 AM , Blogger Secret said...

Now just to clarify, I'm not calling all European residents trash, well ok maybe the French. Anyways there is Euro and there is Euro-Trash. Just like White people, and White-Trash. When in Rome, isn't that what you Europeans say? Well I suppose we say the same. In the US being handed a handful of loose change is an insult. I don't blame ignorance, I just think a portion of European immigrants and visitors use that as an excuse to stiff their waiter. If you speak English and have been here more than a day you know what to do, no excuses!

 
At 5:53 AM , Blogger Nattie said...

I have to disagree there secret. I would have no clue about tipping in the US unless I'd read your blog, and other servers blogs. Not everyone has the knowledge, and I doubt very much that some European people use it as an excuse to "stiff" their server. Being in a foriegn country for one day, whether you speak English or not does not mean you "know what to do." I like your blog, but it seems a bit mean to dump on Europeans like this. Even the French.

 
At 8:42 AM , Blogger Girly Girl said...

To help bolster secret's argument a little. If the rest of the world can complain about the ignorant American tourist, why can't the American waiter complain about the ignorant European tourist?
As a side note, I didn't think that the 'Euro-trash' written about were actually European until I read the comments. Often times the title is given to Americans who adopt an "all things foreign are soooo much better than anything local, but European things are the best by far" attitude and nurture their own little affectations, fake accents and the like. This usually develops after a semester spent abroad or a trip to one's ancestral homeland. On occasion, it will happen after a visit to a large metro area (NYC, etc...) that's not outside of the US but allows for greater access to foreign things than middle America has. Only the couple themselves can let us know if they were tourists, even Secret may have read them wrong.

 
At 8:57 AM , Blogger Patricia said...

Well in Europe waiters are paid a decent salary, so the tipping amount is simply not an issue. So... it's not something that european tourists have on their minds, simply because the subject never, ever, came up during their entire lives. So why should you expect that tipping is something that an european tourist would remember to be imediately informed about as soon as he gets to the States? It doesn't make sense.
I travel a lot. I've been to lots of countries. And the first time I heard about tipping in the USA was when I read Waiter Rant and then this blog. I was shocked, because I knew about the % long before I knew about your crappy paychecks. 20% tip is an insane concept for anyone in the world except for you americans. So... you are the exception, not the rule, so give the rest of the world a break for not knowing that information when they visit you. Be polite and inform them at the beginning of the meal. Then there will be no excuse for giving you loose change.

 
At 12:06 PM , Blogger Secret said...

Well in the U.S. it is considered rude, while at a table to tell anyone, including foreigners what tipping practices are.

I don't know how 20% is insane as we often don't even get a paycheck and make well under the minimum, it all balances out.

Now I myself try to treat every table the same unless they are rude, this includes Europeans. He obviously had been in country for a while and chances are he knows the custom here. If I were to go to Europe and act like an ass (Think Clark Griswold) and disregard your customes you would be all over me for being a trashy American.

The feeling is mutual no matter what side of the ocean, I just think its hypocritical to think its wrong to say Euro-Trash when relating to a minority group from your continent while referring to Americans as the same.

BTW I feel you on Girly Girl's comments. I've work and know several people that get joy of acting superior because they went on their High School Spanish trip and shit all over their own country. All of us have things to be proud of, this pissing contest is getting weak.

Anyone even read the majority of the column? How bout the Chocolate Tort idiot?

 
At 10:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? You really don't know about tipping? When I went to Europe and Mexico, I got a guide book for each and in each was a section on restaurant ettiquite. For example, in Mexico, a tip ranges from change at a cheaper place to 10 percent or higher at a nicer place. Also, you have to ask for the check, it is considered rude for a waiter to bring the check unless explicitly asked- although I might have figured out that one on my own.

I did know, however, that in Europe the waiters are paid better. How is is that I knew that at the age of 18? I don't know, probably because I took a little time to check a guidebook from the library. IS it that this information is not available in Europe, or that people don't think to educate themselves a bit before traveling.

 
At 5:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the thing.. when you go to another country.. isn't it polite to learn their customs so you don't look like a complete ass?
Heck, like anon above said.. you can get a guidebook from the library.. it's free!!!!! (you do have to return it though)

It's not like the Insane Waiter can tell them afterwards - Hey- you didn't tip me enough. It's not his job to teach people how to behave when they visit a foreign country. Plus.. in most restaurants it would cost him his job if he did so.

As a server myself, I refuse to work Valentine's Day.. It's rookie night for diners. No thanks.

 
At 1:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a customer myself, I refuse to tip on Valentine's Day.. It's rookie night for servers. No thanks.

 
At 6:17 PM , Anonymous Frequent Restaurant Diner said...

Since when is RL higher on the food chain than Applebee's? When I've eaten at RL, I've enjoyed nice decorating, lousy food and lousy service.

As far as tipping is concerned I will always tip at least 15%, more for very good service, unless I get lousy service, in which case I leave a penny so the server will know I didn't just stiff him or her.

With dozens and dozens of good restaurants in the greater Des Moines area, why would anyone come back to a place with that kind of service and food?

 
At 1:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Applebees food is crap - half the stuff on their menu gets microwaved. At least Red Lobster has somewhat edible food.

 
At 1:40 PM , Anonymous former barman said...

Think about this Insane Waiter - a bartender gets a cut of every single tip from every customer that walks in the restaurant. I made more money bartending (and had more fun) than I ever did waiting tables. Then I foolishly got into managment, and made the same money while working twice the hours.

 

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